• Monash University logo

Food as Medicine: Talking about Weight

Help your patients use foods and nutrition to assist them in achieving their weight management outcomes.

A photograph of cherries, apricots, tomatoes, tape measure and cutlery neatly placed on a large leaf.

Grow your confidence in answering common weight management questions

The obesity crisis means that healthcare professionals talking confidently to patients about weight is more critical than ever.

On this course, designed for healthcare professionals by an international team of experts in nutrition and weight management from Monash University and Portsmouth Hospital, NHS Trust UK, including GPs and nurses, you will be equipped with the latest information about weight management strategies, so you can feel more confident in having difficult conversation regarding weight with patients, and answering common nutrition and weight management related questions.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds HELEN TRUBY: Hi, I’m Helen Truby. I’m head of nutrition and dietetics here at Monash University in Australia. My team and I conduct research into weight management both in children and in adults. I’m sure in your practice, you have many people who ask about weight management. In this course, we’re going to explore some of the reasons why people do gain weight and some don’t, what advice you may be able to give them, and how you might be able to incorporate food as medicine in your practice. So what are the advances in this area? With 60% of our population now either overweight or obese, the need for effective weight management strategies has never been larger.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds We know that people seek help from their GPs and from health professionals about their body weight, but it’s often a difficult conversation for health professionals to have.

Skip to 1 minute and 25 seconds EVELYN VOLDERS: I think for– all health care professionals really have a responsibility to help work to reduce the rates of childhood obesity. And it’s about supporting families and communities to make those healthy choices and learn about food and the importance of good food choices.

Skip to 1 minute and 44 seconds HELEN TRUBY: This course is aimed at health care professionals and assumes knowledge of science, medicine, and health care practice.

Skip to 1 minute and 51 seconds DENISE THOMAS: So for some patients, their lifestyle will mean that they need different sorts of dietary advice and that dietary advice to be delivered in a supportive way to them.

Skip to 2 minutes and 1 second HELEN TRUBY: Using practical demonstrations, case studies, and discussions, we are going to provide you with some knowledge and skills and helpful ways that might impact on your practice about how you might help those patients, the majority of which are actually looking to you for a solution. We hope this course helps you.


  • Week 1

    Challenges and weight management

    • Introduction to the course

      Learn about the best ways you can discuss the topic of weight loss and weight management with your patients.

    • Talking about food and weight

      Learn different ways that you can provide your patients with health information by exploring the following case studies.

    • Questions commonly asked by patients

      Explore the many different topics and questions that are commonly asked by patients seeking weight loss advice.

    • Weight loss strategies

      Learn more about the different types of weight loss strategies that are available that you may like to discuss with your patients.

    • Maintaining weight loss

      Find out about the diverse range of approaches and challenges of maintaining weight loss that you can share with your patients.

    • The science of weight loss

      Explore the science of weight loss and learn more about human physiology and how it impacts appetite.

    • End of week

      Reflect on your learnings from this week of the course, and more.

  • Week 2

    Influencing factors

    • Introduction to the week

      Learn more about the topics that are going to be covered in this week of the course.

    • Talking about food, appetite and weight

      Learn different ways that you can provide your patients with health information by exploring the following case studies.

    • Is it food quality, food quantity, or both?

      Learn more about food quality and its importance over quantity.

    • Influencing factors

      Learn more about the large variety of factors that can influence a patient's weight loss.

    • An update on 'above healthy weight'

      Learn more about 'above healthy weight' and the impact that it has on a patient's health.

    • End of course

      Share your thoughts on your experience of participating in this course.

Who is this accredited by?

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners:

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA)
Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) :

Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify critical time points where interventions can have the most effect in the prevention of weight gain
  • Discuss factors that may assist patients to lose weight and prevent weight regain
  • Discuss factors that may drive weight regain in those who have lost weight and what health professionals can do to support weight loss maintenance
  • Engage effectively with patients and respond to common nutrition, food and weight management related questions

Who is the course for?

Places in this course are limited to 100, so please register early to avoid disappointment.

This course has been designed for healthcare professionals, specifically medical specialists, general practitioners and nurses.

However, the course may be of benefit to healthcare professionals such as dietitians and nutritionists with a background in nutrition, who may like a ‘refresher’ in this area of study.

You should have a good knowledge of science, medicine and healthcare practice.

Who has recognised this course?

This course is recognised by:

  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP): this activity has been approved/allocated 16 Category 1 points by the RACGP QI&CPD Program in the 20-22 triennium.

In order to meet the RACGP QI&CPD Program requirements to receive 16 Category 1 points, RACGP members must complete all parts of this course, including the reinforcing activity.

  • British Dietetic Association (BDA): endorsement applies only to the educational content of the learning activity.
  • Association for Nutrition (AfN): endorsed for CPD.

If you have any questions on the course, its accreditation/endorsement or how it may relate to your professional healthcare practice we encourage you to email your questions to base.nutrition@monash.edu

Who will you learn with?

Gary is Professor and Head of Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food at Monash University. He is interested in dietary phytochemicals and health.

Dr. Christie Bennett is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food at Monash University.

Melissa is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist involved in research and teaching at Monash, along with working in private practice. She specialises in nutritional genomics.

Denise is a registered practising dietitian currently Head of the Dietetic Service at Portsmouth NHS Trust in the UK. She specialises in medical and surgical management of morbid obesity.

Who developed the course?

Monash University

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 60Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

Endorsers and supporters

endorsed by


What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Learn best practices from experts
  • Learn from the experience of other health professionals
  • Fit learning around your schedule with unlimited access
  • Get evidence of learning outcomes and CPD hours
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...

You can use the hashtag #FLFoodWeight to talk about this course on social media.